Doug McMillon's comment — "... the status quo is unacceptable" — resonates with us as we are sure it does with millions of Americans alarmed by the number of mass shootings.
As CEO of Walmart, McMillon announced Tuesday new policies for guns and ammunition, including:
• "After selling through our current inventory commitments, we will discontinue sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber that, while commonly used in some hunting rifles, can also be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons."
• "We will sell through and discontinue handgun ammunition."
• "We will discontinue handgun sales in Alaska, marking our complete exit from handguns."
The retailer also is asking that its customers no longer carry firearms into its stores, and is calling for stronger background checks and renewed debate about reauthorizing a ban on assault weapons.
Walmart's position, given that it has been the scene of two shootings in recent weeks, including 22 killed in El Paso, and given other changes it has made in recent years, shouldn't come as a surprise.
And let's not forget that bizarre incident in Springfield recently, in which a man conducting what he called a "social experiment" entered a Walmart wearing body armor and carrying a military-style rifle curious to see if his Second Amendment rights would be respected.
The result was panic, the man was arrested.
“This is Missouri,” he allegedly told police. “I understand if we were somewhere else like New York or California, people would freak out.”
Well, Missourians have grown angry about the mass shootings, too.
Walmart's decision seems reasonable to us after all that happened, and in light of the fact that four years ago it quit selling military-style rifles. Last year, Dick's Sporting Goods made a similar move. This isn't an isolated move by Walmart, but is part of a movement. Others will follow. And as the nation's largest retailer, Walmart's decision this week sends a signal that the number of those who believe "the status quo is unacceptable" is growing.
We note that this is not a Second Amendment issue, either. Walmart has no obligation to sell weapons or ammunition. Yet the retailer is being vilified by the National Rifle Association, which we think has overreacted by inferring that people should shop elsewhere and by accusing Walmart of choosing to "victimize law-abiding Americans."
The NRA is no victim, and its attempt to play that role are part of the reason it is losing momentum.
But at the same time, the vilification of the NRA — the San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently passed a resolution calling the NRA a “domestic terrorist organization” and claimed that it works to "incite gun owners to acts of violence" — also is incendiary and misses the mark.
Let's keep the focus on the real victims — the men, women and children being slaughtered on our streets, and in our churches, our schools and in stores across America — and on the real causes of the problem, otherwise we will never get anywhere.